Tuesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Megadrought in the American south-west: a climate disaster unseen in 1,200 years

    When the Nasa climatologist James Hansen testified before Congress in June 1988 about a warming planet, the temperature in Washington DC hit a record 100F. It was a summer of unprecedented heatwaves, and 40 states were grappling with drought.

    His warning was seen as a historic wake-up call – but instead of heeding the existential smoke alarm, the US removed the batteries and kept on cooking.

    Nearly four decades later, the consequences of a sweltering Earth are hitting home in the US south-west and mountain west – comprising states from California to Colorado. Over the past two decades, extreme heat and dwindling moisture levels have converged to create a “megadrought” deemed the driest period in 1,200 years.
    ……………………………….
    “We were given an excellent warning by climate scientists,” says Bill McKibben, the journalist turned climate activist. “And, yet, instead of mustering the will to do something about it, our political and economic systems rallied to do nothing.”

    In a new series, the Guardian will explore the consequences of megadrought on the communities and environments of the US south-west, where cattle ranchers, Indigenous peoples and tourists alike are seeing their daily lives upended.
    ………………………….
    Tim Kohler, an archaeologist and professor at Washington State University, says the current megadrought is different from prehistoric dry periods. “This one seems to be more severe than any of the previous droughts and just as long,” he says. “But the really bad news is all the previous megadroughts took place without the influence of increasing greenhouse gases. Now we are playing a new ballgame and scientists don’t know what to expect.”

    Recent research has shown how such compelling forces are playing out on the ground.

    Food for thought:

    But what has puzzled Kohler is evidence from his archaeological research that shows not every prolonged drought led to the demise of a Puebloan society. He says it was only the socially polarized communities that appeared to collapse during a climate crisis. “What I think happened is that some people in these villages had more wealth, or maize production, than others,” explains Kohler. Over time, tensions built between the haves and have-nots. “If there were pre-existing social divisions during a climatic downturn, then you had the potential for violence and village life was thrown into chaos.”

    Kohler notes that when he found evidence of village members living at the same social level, it appeared they were able to survive a similarly challenging drought by “pulling together and making things work”.

    More at the link.

    ReplyReply
    6
  2. Lost in Quebec says:

    Film director Jean-Luc Godard has passed away. I always thought his 1963 film, Le Mépris, was his best.

    French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard — a key figure in the Nouvelle Vague, the film-making movement that revolutionized cinema in the late 1950s and 60s — has died aged 91, French media is reporting.

    French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted a tribute to the director, writing the country has lost a “national treasure.”

    “It was like an apparition in French cinema,” Macron tweeted. “Then he became one of its masters. Jean-Luc Godard, the most iconoclastic of New Wave directors, had invented a resolutely modern, intensely free art. We lose a national treasure, a genius outlook.”

    Godard’s first feature film, “À bout de souffle” (“Breathless”) in 1960, was a celebration of the nonchalant improvisational cinematography that became synonymous with his style.

    In the years that followed, his films revolved around complex issues such as fickleness, indignity and caprice.

    Among his notable later works were his “trilogy of the sublime,” which consisted of three films that explored femininity, nature and religion — 1982’s “Passion,” the following year’s “Prénom Carmen” (“First Name: Carmen”) and “Je vous salue, Marie” (“Hail Mary”) in 1985.

    During his long career, Godard was awarded an honorary César in 1987 and 1998, and received an honorary Academy Award in 2010.

    ReplyReply
    3
  3. Tony W says:

    Watching Russell Wilson get his comeuppance last night in Seattle, on a big, national stage, was a sight to behold.

    That said, when an underdog wins, it’s always compelling.

    ReplyReply
    1
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Transformational’: could America’s new green bank be a climate gamechanger?

    Buried on page 667 of the Inflation Reduction Act is a climate policy that has been in the making for more than a decade.

    The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund provides $27bn in funding for projects aimed at lowering America’s planet-heating emissions. Some of those funds, roughly $7bn, will be dedicated to clean energy deployment in low-income communities – but the vast majority of the funds will be used to create America’s first national green bank, an initiative long championed by climate activists. Those activists hope that the national green bank, which will provide financial assistance to expand the use of clean energy across the country, will accelerate America’s transition away from fossil fuels.

    With the green bank’s assistance, communities looking to bolster their nascent renewable energy industries will have increased access to funding that could bring them closer to meeting their climate goals.

    “This is, I think, one of the most exciting and transformational investments and programs in this new law,” said Sam Ricketts, co-founder of the climate group Evergreen Action. “The importance of a national clean energy accelerator is that it’s a national entity, with a national mandate to finance these projects in every state.”

    I blame Joe Biden.

    ReplyReply
    4
  5. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’ve long been fascinated by the conservative vs. liberal mindset and I think climate change is perhaps the perfect illustration of the differences and the consequences. To be clear, I’m not talking about how people label themselves, since “Conservative” and “Liberal” merely represent a bunch of different positions that people who identify by these labels happen to hold. As near as I can tell, what little underlying philosophy drives these positions has nothing to do with small “c” conservative positions or small “l” liberal ones. To my mind a conservative mindset is one where there is a natural tendency to preserve the existing social order, to lean in on existing systems and solutions and make them incrementally better and more effective, and a natural abhorrence of trying new and unproven paths. The liberal mindset is basically the opposite: a natural tendency to look at the problem at hand and decide that what we really need is a bold new plan that will make great strides rather than small incremental improvements. In this view, sometimes conservative policies are what is needed, and sometimes liberal ones are better. But it matters greatly who holds power at the time. If a liberal policy is needed, i.e. a great change in how we operate, and people with a conservative mindset hold the reins, we can lose our opportunities to effect change before disaster strikes. The Ozone Hole, and Y2K were examples of cases where liberal policies were needed and people with liberal mindsets had enough power to implement them. The current climate crisis is a perfect illustration of when a strong liberal policy could have prevented some or much of what has already happened and most of the much worse things about to come. But globally and especially in the US, the conservative mindset achieved almost total control over the levers of power, preventing any grand plan from emerging.

    ReplyReply
    3
  6. becca says:

    @MarkedMan: The climate crisis could be the catalyst for a severe “conservative” comeuppance. We would not have surpassed all the tipping points had we followed a “liberal” path. That is just fact. The “conservatives” actively blocked legislation, pushed (and keep pushing) for more dirty energy, while trying to discredit clean energy. Some still call it a hoax.
    I would certainly be concerned, if I were an outspoken propagandist for polluters. Why are food prices so high and only go higher? Because heatwaves, polar inversions, floods, droughts, and fires are destabilizing growing seasons. Whose fault is that? The answer is crystal clear.
    The DFHs had it right all along.

    ReplyReply
    2
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Joe Biden: “Cancer does not discriminate red and blue. It doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together.

    Hmmmm… that sounds familiar. Didn’t we just have this fight about a slightly different disease?

    ReplyReply
    4
  8. MarkedMan says:

    @becca: I agree with you, in this case. But the conservative approach can be the better one. For instance, some days I think my job in riding herd on a gaggle of engineers is to simply stop them from ripping everything up and starting over before they even understand the issue. I’d also say that, in engineering, the conservative mind set is often better at sticking with something until all the bugs are out and it’s perfected.

    It’s odd that many engineers self identify as big “C” Conservative but, at least professionally, they are wild eyed liberals when it comes to respecting the work of those that have come before.

    ReplyReply
    2
  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Dude, it’s not smoke, it’s the barbecue you’re smelling. And if you don’t stop harshing everybody’s mellow, we’ll have to ask you to leave. But the beer you brung stays here, GOT IT?”

    ReplyReply
    1
  10. CSK says:

    Politifact has had to debunk the quaint notion held by QAnoners that QEII and Prince Philip were descendants of lizard people from the planet Draco.

    Actually, I’m not sure the same could be said of Jared Kushner.

    ReplyReply
    1
  11. Kathy says:

    You may want to know the safety escape system for the Jeff Bezos flying phallus works as advertised. the action starts around 1:21:20 into the video.

    The booster not so much.

    I shouldn’t mock what’s a serious endeavor to provide hoy rides to the rich for some reason, but in contrast SpaceX, also led by a major self-obsessed a**hole, is averaging one orbital launch per week.

    ReplyReply
    2
  12. CSK says:

    Jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, 87, has died. RIP.

    ReplyReply
    3
  13. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve made something of a hobby out of arguing on OTB threads that the dictionary definition of “conservative” has little or nothing to do with modern “conservatives”. There are long shelves of books on the difference between liberals and conservatives. One of the best is Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind in which he argues, going back to the 17th century, that conservatism has never been conservative, but always reactionary. From WIKI,

    Robin argues that rather than being about liberty, limited government, resistance to change, or public virtue, conservatism is a “mode of counterrevolutionary practice” to preserve hierarchy and power.

    Let’s take climate denial a little further. Why do conservatives oppose action on climate? Partly it’s the same knee-jerk reaction they have to everything – that’s just the way things are, nothing can be done. It’s partly a religious faith in the goodness of God’s creation. But mostly it’s because many people and entities with a stake in carbon have spent hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, persuading them so. Whether they realize it or not, what climate deniers and Republican voters are doing is preserving the wealth and power of Chuckles Koch, Exxon Mobil, Vladimir Putin, Prince bin Salman, etc.

    Also on that long shelf of books is Prius Or Pickup which makes the commonplace observation that conservatism is basically a psychological thing, but is particularly explicit that it didn’t used to sort so cleanly into Democrat and Republican. Part of this is the loss of the conservative Dixiecrats and wholesale conversion of the South from D to R. But it goes beyond that. Once upon a time there were northern liberal Republicans and conservative blue collar Democrats. Remember that when GOPs say more Rs voted for the Civil Rights Act than Ds, they’re right, that did happen, once upon a time. Why has it now sorted so completely? I would argue it’s FOX “News”, FOX as the face of a broader world of conservative media and Republican propaganda. Blood and soil populism is the easiest thing to sell, and commonly used to protect the ruling elite. (The real ruling elite, not associate professors and school librarians.)

    Conservatism is not a positive thing, it’s always against, it’s Cleek’s Law – Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily. The tell in Burke is not incrementalism or wanting to know why someone put up a gate, but his resentment of hairdressers and candle makers having the same one vote Burke himself had. (While noting that IIRC in his government service Burke was fairly progressive for the time.) I see little evidence conservatives are interested in even incremental improvement of anything, except with a very narrow, self serving, definition of “improvement”. They are incrementally “improving” the tax code every chance they get.

    ReplyReply
    6
  14. Franklin says:

    @MarkedMan: You’re in software, right? There are so many analogies between that and public policy. And I know exactly where you’re coming from – take a big ass legacy system that needs a new feature, and somebody will see a few stumbling blocks and want to rewrite from scratch (yes, rewriting a codebase that took 20 years to develop should be a quick, easy job, right?). Or develop a totally independent module that can’t be integrated without breaking backwards compatibility.

    ReplyReply
    2
  15. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:
    @gVOR08:
    I make something of a hobby of teasing American “conservatives” that they ain’t.
    Universal suffrage.
    A written constitution.
    No established church.
    Freedom to bear arms.
    Equality before the law.
    No hereditary ranks.
    No internal customs barriers.
    Freedom of speech.
    etc etc etc
    All liberal principles.

    The thing is, that American conservatives cling to the forms of how these principles as rigidly and unthinkingly as the old reaction clung to Crown or Church or Aristocracy.
    And are not prepared to let any new ideas, or considerations of changed circumstances, or wider issues of justice, to intrude upon what seems to them, now, familiar and comfortable.

    ReplyReply
    2
  16. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: Agree with everything you say, 100%, and that’s why I differentiate between small “c” and large “C” conservatism, and offer my own definition for the small “c” variety. As you point out, I don’t think there is any coherent definition of the large “C” kind – or of large “L” liberal either.

    ReplyReply
    1
  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Franklin: I’m in devices, so mechanical, electrical, electronics, firmware and software – and the “rip it out and start over mentality” can plague any of them. I just brought on a mid-level analog electronics guy and he’ll be good, but his first assignment is to reduce the noise level on a particular board and after spending a week trying to understand it , he came to the conclusion that it simply couldn’t work as designed. Despite the fact that it is 10 years old and is being used 24/7/365 in more than a hundred factories and labs all over the world. He knew he shouldn’t propose starting over from scratch but I could hear it in his voice and see it in his body language.

    ReplyReply
    1
  18. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Classical liberalism used to be known as conservatism.

    ReplyReply
    4
  19. Mu Yixiao says:

    @CSK:

    Politifact has had to debunk the quaint notion held by QAnoners that QEII and Prince Philip were descendants of lizard people from the planet Draco.

    Well, duh! Of course that’s not true. They’re actual lizard people from the center of the Earth who are wearing skin suits.

    ReplyReply
  20. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    That would be Jared Kushner, thank you very much.

    ReplyReply
  21. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:

    Classical liberalism used to be known as conservatism.

    I’d say more the other way round: that Old Classical Liberalism has become blurred (in America) with modern Conservatism.

    Should any Americans actually think “classical liberalism” and old-stylee European continental conservatism have much in common, they should permit me to introduce them to some French Monarchists some time.

    And then let the LOLery commence.

    ReplyReply
    2
  22. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    This is interesting:

    http://www.bigthink.com/thinking/classical-liberalism-explained/

    Yes, I should have inverted my comment.

    ReplyReply
    3
  23. @JohnSF:

    I’d say more the other way round: that Old Classical Liberalism has become blurred (in America) with modern Conservatism.

    I would say this is accurate.

    Although if you look at someone like Russell Kirk, you can see true basic conservatism as well, just without the trappings of aristocratic Europe to fall back on. (And Kirk influenced 20th-century American conservativism quite a bit).

    American liberalism and conservatism (broadly defined) draw a great deal from classical liberalism..

    ReplyReply
    2
  24. Mister Bluster says:

    Princess Anne accompanied the Queen on her final flight. The deceased monarch’s only daughter, Anne was also the only one of the Queen’s four children to accompany her coffin from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh on Monday.
    CNN

    Been there, done that.
    After my mother died in 2008 and her remains were cremated I picked up her ashes that had been placed into a simple metal box. I put her in the back seat of my Ford F-150 and drove her from Columbia, Missouri to my home in Southern Illinois. She rode with me for 10 days or so till I could take her to the National Cemetery in Danville, Illinois where she was interred with my father who had been waiting patiently for her since 2001. It was the most time that mom and I spent together since I left the family home to attend college 40 years earlier.

    ReplyReply
    3
  25. Mu Yixiao says:

    @CSK:

    That would be Jared Kushner, thank you very much.

    Nuh uh! I read it in the newspaper in the supermarket checkout line.

    ReplyReply
  26. Kathy says:

    I wonder how much we’ll hear about this: Foreign leaders attending Queen Elizabeth’s funeral have been advised to fly commercial and will be bussed in groups

    I can imagine Biden taking a commercial flight and a bus. I can’t imagine the Secret Service would let him.

    Maybe if they could charter a plane, staff it with an Air Force crew, and limit passengers to those screened and approved. Even then, Biden would lack the sophisticated (ie encrypted) communications tools available on Air Force One.

    BTW, attendance for foreign leaders at the funeral is limited to said leader and their spouse, and no one else. So Rudy’s out of luck.

    ReplyReply
    1
  27. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Tim Miller called Kushner a “lizard/robot hybrid”on Twitter.

    So there.

    ReplyReply
  28. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    So is Trump, who claimed that the time Elizabeth spent with him was the best she’d had in 25 years. Gag me.

    ReplyReply
  29. dazedandconfused says:

    @CSK:

    Lizard people from the planet Draco? A gross oversimplification, at best, and Critical Alien Theory clap-trap. We must stop the teaching that stuff in our schools!

    ReplyReply
    2
  30. grumpy realist says:

    Lindsey Graham has introduced a federal abortion bill outlawing abortion at 15 weeks.

    So much for all that “we’ll leave it up to the states” pious mumbling he was saying two months ago.

    ReplyReply
    4
  31. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    If he’s trying to energize Democratic voters before the November midterms, he’s doing a hell of a job.

    ReplyReply
    2
  32. CSK says:

    Former NY governor Andrew Cuomo has filed a misconduct complaint against NY AG Letitia James because she had the nerve to invetigate sexual harassment allegations against him.

    ReplyReply
    1
  33. Kathy says:

    It turns out you can mix Greek yogurt with chocolate milk powder mix (aka Quik) in order to make chocolate yogurt.

    I’d done it with instant coffee, but not with chocolate.

    Naturally the next step is to use both an make mocha.

    ReplyReply
    3
  34. CSK says:

    Ken Starr, 76, has died of complications during surgery.

    ReplyReply
    6
  35. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    @grumpy realist:
    What exactly did Mike Donilon promise Graham to get this, we ask?

    Also: “States Rights! No, no, not like that!”

    Mind you, further though occurs:
    Say this passed.
    Abortion after 15 weeks no illegal under federal law.
    (Enforced by the FBI? The mid boggles…)
    Anyhoo, would that not imply abortion before 15 weeks nationally legal under federal law?
    (Genuine question: IANAL and especially IANAAL)

    Is this a plan to keep the Supremes gainfully employed for a decade or so, sorting all the implications?

    ReplyReply
    1
  36. Gustopher says:

    @Franklin: Sometimes you have to burn shit to the ground to put yourself in a place where you can make forward progress.

    My last job was at a company that decided their previous codebase was unmaintainable and couldn’t adapt to the future needs, so they had a grand plan, hired a shitload of consultants from different contractors and wrote an entirely new version, where every service was seemingly written in a different language and technology stack.

    And that whole new system needed to be burnt to the ground, because where are you going to find people able to work with Clojure, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, functional Scala, non-functional Scala, AND Kotlin? And that’s not mentioning the build systems, database libraries, caching layers, observability tools…

    And, as predicted, the old systems really are failing more and more often.

    Don’t worry, though, because they have a plan — matrix management, and “empowering” engineers to seek buy-in to modify anything across this huge pile of random services, so long as they can get their now-multiple bosses to agree on priority, and the senior architect they hired to nod sagely.

    Also, “service mesh” was mentioned.

    Whole place should be burnt to the ground, with management locked inside.

    ReplyReply
    2
  37. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: He was an awful man.

    I’m going to hope that he had taken up surgery as a hobby and managed to stab himself to death. Being put under anesthesia and then just not waking seems to good for him.

    ReplyReply
    1
  38. charon says:

    @JohnSF:

    Anyhoo, would that not imply abortion before 15 weeks nationally legal under federal law?

    The proposal leaves states free to set bans at earlier dates.

    ReplyReply
    2
  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: I buried my mother in 2006, the old man finally followed her in 2010. Both were interred in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. I won’t bore you with the details but to say those were 4 hard years would be putting it lightly. I had to face a lot of hard truths.

    ReplyReply
  40. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Ken Starr has died.
    Not to speak ill of the dead, but this ass-hat hounded Lewinsky and Clinton for a BJ in the Oval Office, and then covered up a rape spree at Baylor when he was President there.
    So good. This country is better off without him.

    ReplyReply
    3
  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: What took him so long?

    ReplyReply
  42. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “So much for all that “we’ll leave it up to the states” pious mumbling he was saying two months ago.”

    More like two days ago…

    ReplyReply
    2
  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Why does one want chocolate-, coffee-, or mocha-flavored yogurt? You have to add too much sugar to the yogurt to make the other flavor palatable. The two flavor profiles don’t go together. It’s why there are no chocolate covered lemon candies.

    ReplyReply
    1
  44. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    In point of fact there are (or were) chocolate covered lime sweets, at least in Britain.
    And horrid things they were too. 😉

    And IIRC sugared lemon slices in chocolate are a Greek recipe.
    Or maybe Turkish?
    I think.

    ReplyReply
  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: With Ken Starr you got a twofer: the perfect example of an out of control prosecutor using his power to harass his enemies, long, long after the initial investigation and the ones after that turned up nothing, and also a perfect example of the phony Christian, endlessly droning on about morality and pieties while actively protecting rapists so his college team could win games.

    Truly a disgusting human being.

    ReplyReply
    5
  46. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I use only zero added sugar yogurt. The instant coffee has no sugar. The chocolate powder is a low-sugar version (around 60% less than the regular Quik). That’s it, no sweeteners at all. I mix is with bran flakes for desert (I’ve bad desert taste, I think).

    I like it. In any case, coffee and chocolate make mocha, which has been around as long as I can recall. I’ve made coffee yogurt jello, too.

    there’s an idea: mocha yogurt jello. I’ll have to think about it.

    ReplyReply
  47. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..hard years…hard truths…

    My sincere condolences…

    ReplyReply
    1
  48. Jax says:

    My kids and I are finally vaxxed with the updated vaccine. (cool shades emoji)

    My Covid headache didn’t go away til yesterday. I was about to go to the clinic, 6 days of stabby pain in the back of my head was about to break me to tears. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

    ReplyReply
    1
  49. Beth says:

    @Kathy:

    You are terrifyingly hardcore. Much respect.

    ReplyReply
    1
  50. Kathy says:

    @Beth:

    It feels like undeserved praise. Thank you.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*